Suburban Priest Cleared of Sex Abuse Allegations in 2021 at Center of New Claims

Two sexual abuse allegations have been brought against a suburban priest who was reinstated as a pastor in 2021 after a review board found there was “insufficient reason to suspect” he had sexually abused children 25 years ago.

On Friday, the Archdiocese of Chicago was informed about two sexual abuse allegations of a minor against Rev. David Ryan, pastor of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Parish in Lake Zurich, Cardinal Blase Cupich said in a letter to parishioners.

Cupich added he asked Ryan to step aside as pastor while an independent review board can investigate the allegations, and Ryan agreed to "cooperate fully with our process," which Cupich said will "move forward as expeditiously as possible."

In November 2020, Ryan was asked to step away from the parish when an investigation into separate allegations began. In September of the following year, Cupich announced Ryan had been cleared and reinstated.

But a week later, Ryan was once again placed under investigation after Cupich said new information had become available to the archdiocese. In November of 2021, Cupich said an archdiocese review board found there was “insufficient reason to suspect” the priest had sexually abused children 25 years ago.

In a statement after he was reinstated as pastor, Ryan said he was innocent but that the church was right to be vigilant and must investigate all claims.

“It is important that you know I categorically deny that I have ever abused a child. I have faith the investigation will confirm what I know to be true and that I will return to parish ministry when it concludes,” Ryan said in the previous statement.

The allegations brought forth in 2020 were from when Ryan was assigned to Maryville Academy in Des Plaines. Ryan was ordained in Springfield in June 1979 and started working in Maryville Academy six years later.

Additional information about the most recent allegations hasn't been released.

The full letter from Cardinal Blase Cupich sent to parishioners Saturday is below:

Dear Parishioners of St. Francis de Sales Parish,

I am writing with upsetting news. Yesterday the Archdiocese received two allegations of sexual abuse of a minor against Fr. David Ryan. As is the case with all such matters, the archdiocese will report these allegations to civil authorities and offer assistance to the persons who made them. In keeping with our policies, I have asked Father Ryan to step aside until our Independent Review Board can investigate the allegations and present its recommendations to me. He has agreed to cooperate fully with our process, which will move forward as expeditiously as possible. We will provide Fr. Ryan with pastoral assistance, and I know he is grateful for your support.

We have appreciated your patience with this process in the past and your understanding that only with an impartial and thorough effort can we fulfill our duty to protect the young people in our care and, if the investigation warrants, restore the good name of the one so accused.

Please know I am keeping all of you in my prayers as we complete this process. I hope you will join me in praying for everyone involved in the work of protecting children.

Sincerely yours in Christ, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich

NBC Chicago/Associated Press
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